Self-Hospitality Pt. 9: You Don’t Have To Tell Your Mind How To Meditate
Your heart just beats, right? It knows how. It doesn’t need to prove to you that it can beat. It never had to show a resume and fill out an application.
Like most of your physiology, you can trust it to do its job. Obviously, parts of your body can fail to do their job and create health problems for you (you’ll see how that factor is not important to this analogy), but simply being alive in ill health is the result of an orchestration of physical processes that is so complex that attempting to run all of its data through your intellect would make your head explode.
So to save you the information overload, everything just happens below the level of intellectual perception. If something goes terribly wrong, then you get a strong signal of discomfort, but otherwise you’re mind is on a need-to-know basis. Now, you can deepen your connection to your general bodily wellbeing (a very very good idea and a lost form of intelligence – but another conversation), but even then, most of the information available involves a subtle intuitive sense of things and never all the details. Because, honestly, how many details do you need?
The same is true for meditation. The mind and body know how to do their job and guide the process. You don’t need the details of how or what is happening because, honestly, the more you involve yourself, the more disrupt things.
Meditation is the time for calm, agenda-free observation of whatever events are happening within you. It’s not the time for analysis. There is no point in digging for meaning because so much of what’s actually happening is below the surface of awareness and is not even available to your intellect.
We all want clear signs of profound things happening in meditation, but the powerful transformations occur on levels that you don’t necessarily get to know about. Because you don’t need to know…yet anyway. You’ll see the effects reveal themselves in the quality of your experiences in daily life.
You may find yourself analyzing things by accident. Don’t worry about that. Meditation is filled with the mind doing random, spontaneous things. And if you’re giving it space to do that, while simply and gently returning to your device focus (mantra/breath), then you’re practicing perfectly. As long as you’re not going into meditation with ideas that the intention of doing it is to figure out and understand all the shenanigans that your mind is going to throw at you. Don’t worry about what’s going on on the surface level of your thoughts. So much of what is happening is occurring under all of that. Just like you may feel the sensations of your heartbeat in your chest, but you’re not seeing oxygen and countless nutrients being valeed to your bloodstream and tissues.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with analysis, especially as it concerns questions you generally need to answer in order to make decisions in your daily life. But analysis just doesn’t have the value you think it does during meditation. If you want to apply analysis to meditation then just observe how you feel after your meditation: Refreshed? Clear? Measured? Creative? Great, you have a reason to meditate again. Honestly, what more do you need?
Apply The Principles
After you meditate, sit with your eyes closed for two, as usual doing as little as possible. Just let everything settle and assimilate. Then just observe and notice when you try and label or paint a story about what you’re experiencing. And just gently inquire to yourself, “Why do I need it to mean this?” You may be surprised by the answers you get.
Learn The Essentials
The purpose of this series is to give you everything you need to get the most out of meditation, self-care and this fresh new life we get to live with such powerful tools at our disposal. The weekly tools and principles I share will help you become more skilled and confident at meditating and just generally living with this thing called a mind.
Whether or not you’ve already learned meditation (with me or elsewhere), refer to this guide to either get you started or refresh you on the essentials.
I bet, even if you’ve been meditating for awhile, this series will reveal aspects of it that will make you say, “Wow, how come I didn’t know this?” You did. And you do. You just needed reminding. Meditation is a very radical way of being in ourselves…and yet it’s the most familiar place we know.